Marion County sheriff candidate drops out of race amid affair allegations

Dan Kuhn steps down from undersheriff post, sheriff's race

OCALA, Fla. - Marion County Sheriff candidate Dan Kuhn resigned from the sheriff's office and the 2012 race for sheriff on Thursday after allegations on an extramarital affair surfaced days earlier.

Outgoing Sheriff Ed Dean accepted the resignation on Thursday morning. Kuhn was previously placed on unpaid leave pending the outcome of an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement requested by Dean, according to a release.

Later on Thursday, Kuhn announced he was dropping out of the sheriff's race through his Facebook page.

"I have made some poor decisions which have come to light and hurt those I love the most and the community I have served," Kuhn wrote on his page. "Along the way my family has not always come first and that needs to change. It is with this in mind that I want to own up to my misgivings and help bring healing to those I have hurt; therefore, with a heavy heart, I have resigned from the Marion County Sheriff's Office and hereby withdraw as the Republican nominee in the upcoming election for Sheriff of Marion County."

Dean said he received a complaint from an attorney representing Melissa Cook, the principal of an Ocala private school, saying she had an affair with Kuhn. In her complaint, she says the two engaged in sexual activity at MCSO while Kuhn was on duty and that Kuhn gave her the code for the front gate.

Dean called for Kuhn's resignation from the race Thursday morning.

"In view of the resignation of Dan Kuhn from the very office he seeks to be elected, coupled with admission of the extra marital affair which is at the center of the very serious pending allegations, I believe it would be impossible for Dan Kuhn to effectively lead the Sheriff's Office in accordance with its established core values," Dean wrote in the release.

Kuhn admitted to the affair to Dean, according to the release. Cook's complaint says at least three other deputies knew about the affair but didn't tell the sheriff. The affair allegedly involves department property, vehicles, staff and the violation of internal policies.

"The FDLE investigation as well as our internal investigation are both proceeding they will continue until we resolve this," Dean told Local 6. "It's devastating from the standpoint that allegations against any of our people are made in such a serious nature."

The local Republican Executive committee has seven days to name a replacement nominee after Kuhn's official resignation paperwork is filed,, according to the Supervisor of Elections.

Watch Local 6 for more on this story.

Copyright 2012 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.